Last night, most of Djibouti was in sync with Les Bleus. Djiboutians, along with expats and French military personnel, were united in an incredible explosion of pure joy. Just like in many other nations, the vibrant young people in the smallest country on the Horn of Africa have football in their blood. They’re peerless athletes whenever they have the opportunity to get professional training. Most of the businesses wanted France to win and we saw quite a few fresh and wrinkled faces painted with the tricolour flag. There was also a blaring concert of horns, a parade of heavy, garish 4x4s festooned in the French and Djiboutian flags, and shouts of joy that disturbed the tranquil early evening in the Djiboutian capital on this 15th of July 2018 while the country was experiencing an unusually sweltering “hot season” that wasn’t very suited to any kind of public event.
All in for Les Bleus.
“Djiboutians are often divided during the World Cup. Some support smaller teams and others line up with the three- or four-star teams… to be sure of winning. This time, we were mostly on the French side. We all supported them together and we’re really happy that they were able to bring home this victory with flying colours even if the match wasn’t the most beautiful to watch, at least in the first 60 minutes,” said a former football trainer whose family sported the French team’s colours everywhere, from their jerseys to the make-up on their cheeks.
When asked if Djibouti might one day “play with the big boys”, Y.A. added: “Djibouti is a small country with very few resources for international-level sporting activities. With more capital and a professional environment, I’m sure we would be able to offer talented players to today’s biggest clubs. Our players are able technicians, light and fast, with uncommon endurance in practically infernal temperatures. But being selected for the World Cup requires significant high-level organisations and lots of preparation. We’d have to train a real professional team, something we don’t have at the moment. Things for us are still like they were in Just Fontaine’s day. He trained after finishing work at the factory, yet was still the best striker in a single World Cup.”
Les anciens établissements Fratacci B.B. Modi is a long-time sponsor of football in Djibouti and the top supporter of sports in the Republic of Djibouti. It is only fitting that we participated in this joyful celebration. We hope with all our hearts that the Djiboutian football team will experience its first World Cup someday soon.